Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on his senate colleagues Thursday to support military action in Iraq to push back the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and said failing to do so would let ISIS wage a real “war on women” in the Middle East.
“I don’t to hear any more ‘war about women’ stories unless you address Iraq and Syria,” Graham said on the Senate floor. “You want to see a war on women, I’ll show you one.
“Can you imagine what little girls are thinking today in the Sunni part of Iraq and in Syria? Can you imagine the hell on Earth?” he asked. Graham added that if ISIS is doing that to people in Iraq, “what will they do to us?”
His comments were a rebuke to Democrats, who have said for the last few years that Republicans are waging a “war on women” by seeking cuts to federal spending, and in some cases, for exploring limitations on abortion.
Graham said ISIS is looking to impose Shariah law in Iraq and Syria, which others say would impose harsh new restrictions on women.
“They’re goal is to create an Islamic state, a caliphate, that would put the people under their rule into darkness,” Graham said. “I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but I am alarmed. I’m just telling you what they’re saying they will do.”
Graham added that ISIS has also sworn to attack the U.S., and he and other Republicans spoke on the Senate floor to again press the Obama administration to use air strikes to push ISIS back. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) again said there are “no good options,” but said the worst choice is to do nothing and let ISIS secure room to operate in Iraq and launch attacks against the United States.
“We need to act… but we also need to understand why we are where we are today,” McCain said.
ISIS’s increasing power in Iraq has promoted the Obama administration to consider some military action in Iraq. President Barack Obama has said it is not considering a dramatic military surge in Iraq, but many have called for air strikes to help secure Baghdad.
On Wednesday, Graham said air strikes should be seen as part of a diplomatic process that will give Iraqi leaders time and space to consider political solutions to the strife.